Beginning in early childhood, most youth strive to be accepted and to avoid being rejected by the peers in their classrooms, grades, and schools. Although the nature of the peer group changes in adulthood (e.g., from a classroom filled with peers to a peer group in the workplace), desires to be accepted (and not to be rejected) remain strong throughout the life span. The benefits of being accepted and the costs of being rejected are also evident at all periods of development. This entry focuses on social acceptance, or the experience of being well-liked by peers, and social rejection, or the experience of being disliked by many peers, which theory and research describe as two related but distinct types of social status or group-level peer ...

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